Published by HarperCollins on June 14th 2016
Genres: young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction
It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.
So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.
Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.
Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I just realized that Lauren Gibaldi was the same author who wrote The Night We Said Yes. Well, that explains the fabulousness of this book, HAHA. Autofocus was definitely one of the tear-jerking books I have read in 2016. I mean, it’s only February, and so many books have made me shed buckets of tears. Don’t you agree?
Anyway, Autofocus started out a little bit too slow for my liking, but I still kept on reading because it introduces the main character, Maude, who is REALLY REALLY cute. I know I rarely say that about female MCs, but really, I took a liking to Maude immediately. She was super dang good in photography, creative and is in general, the good-girl type. And yes, this made me like her even more, because this girl doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and has zero interest whatsoever in becoming popular, which is really refreshing from all the high school type of books, because Maude shows that you don’t really have to be bitchy in a YA contemporary book.
This book really hit close to home for me, because it was about how Maude was adopted since she was a kid, and she never really knew who her parents was. Well, she only knew her biological mother’s name, and that isn’t really helping since the woman died the moment Maude was born. And it never really affected her, until she had to do up a family tree for her photography project, and she started having this deep sense of lost inside her, that she thinks has got to do with the fact that she never really knew her mother. I love love love how this book was more family-based, than romantic-based. I don’t know if anybody realized it but I do love books that are about families.
What I really love about this book was that we get to see two different relationships between Maude and her foster parents, and Maude and her dead biological mother. I think it helped us see how Maude’s character grew in the end, because her foster family made her think through whatever that was going on in her head, and there was that particular debate about whether one’s attitude is dependent on their parents’ attitudes, or more on how they were brought up. It actually made me think a whole lot about it.
Besides the whole family thing, this book also focuses on the struggle of college, and becoming a new PERSON. And that’s where Treena, Maude’s best friend, came in. She symbolizes all of us, in my opinion. It’s like, we all want to be this new person when we move away to college, and sometimes it’s a good thing, but truth be told, most of the time, not being who you really are is a bad thing.
Okay, yes, so the last thing I’m going to talk about is the romance, because like I said, it wasn’t really the main focus of the book, which is a good thing. Because the romance between Bennett and Maude is DEFINITELY CUTE AS HELL. There’s always that romantic feeling surrounding them, and it made all their interactions super interesting. Also, Bennett is SERIOUSLY COOL. He’s the geeky type of dude, who has an obsession with Star Wars, but put away all your stereotypical thoughts about geeks, because Bennett shows us that geeks can be sexy, confident guys too HEHE.
So, yes, go forth and read this book. OH, remember to have some tissues in hand too. I wasn’t lying about the tear-jerking part xD